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“By what authority…?”

In my discussion of this week’s Gospel reading, I argue that Matthew and the other two Synoptic gospel writers place Jesus squarely in the prophetic tradition in his confrontation with the Jewish ruling authorities in Jerusalem. They are unable to recognize the legitimacy of what he says and does because, unlike the common people, they have no real connection with that tradition, especially as it had appeared most recently in John the Baptiser. There is no point in trying to explain himself in any other terms.
Matthew’s special contribution to this shared Gospel story is his inclusion of the parable of the two sons, which contrasts superficial conformity to God’s demands among respectable elite with a repentant obedience found even amongst others who outwardly appear beyond the pale. For Anglicans reared in a tradition that prizes good form and inoffensiveness, this may present quite a challenge. What do you think? Feel free to respond in the Comments box.
You can find the video here…

Howard Pilgrim

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